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House Playlist: Big Boi & Theophilus London, Balam Acab, Parakeet, & More

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House Playlist: Big Boi & Theophilus London, Balam Acab, Parakeet, & More

Big Boi & Theophilus London featuring Tre Luce, “She Said OK.” Big Boi remains committed to bulldogging “like them Georgetown Hoyas,” only there’s no longer anyone by his side making sure to “stimulate and activate the left and right brain.” That was my first reaction to the hook of “She Said OK,” which deadpans its way awkwardly between second- and third-person sexcapade tales. “Let me see ya titties/She said, ’Okay’/Now let me see ya pussy/She said, ’Okay.’” The slow luxuriousness of the very “Prototype” groove underneath put me off at first (to the extent that nothing sounds less sexy than something trying to sound sexy and failing), but the longer I thought about it, the more I realized something: “She” actually said nothing. This song is a hip-hop Lars and the Real Girl. Eric Henderson

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVe_m_nYl4k



Tune-Yards, Angelique Kidjo, Questlove, & Akua Naru, “Lady” Of all the Fela Kuti cuts you could cover, “Lady” might be the most politically risqué. Midway through an infectious, slow-burning Tony Allen groove, Fela unleashes a litany of complaints about African women who claim they’re “equal to man.” Detractors say it lays bare Fela’s misogyny; apologists say it’s more of a class thing, that Fela was critiquing elites for trying to find freedom through the master’s tools. Regardless, the controversy makes this recent cover, produced by Merril Garbus of Tune-Yards for the upcoming (Red) Hot + Fela album, all the more interesting. Garbus enlists Beninoise songstress Angelique Kidjo and Ghanian-American rapper Akua Naru, who transform Fela’s complaints into calls for black women’s liberation. Manan Desai

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suBcp6FJmRk



Balam Acab, “Ass Pop.” Let’s say for the sake of argument that I was wrong in my interpretation of “She Said OK” above. Let’s say it actually happened as Big Boi and Theophilus London said it did. Let’s say she did just say “okay.” Why would that be so far-fetched? Why can I not accept that sort of bluntness when I can easily digest (not literally) the slippery, viscous, percolating butt noise of Balam Acab’s (almost totally wordless) “Ass Pop”? Why is this stereophonic chunk of dub-fart a preferable form of seduction? It either means I truly subscribe to the “show, don’t tell” school of musical exxxplanation, or maybe I’m truly just an ass man. EH

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbTGm3byeqk

Parakeet, “Shonen Hearts.” Yuck’s sole female member, Mariko Doi, takes the rejuvenated ‘90s indie-alternative framework of her main venture and instills her own specialized brand of fuzzy, nostalgic, musical jubilation by way of a uniquely charming voice and an enamored lo-fi aesthetic. After “Paper, Scissors, Stone” and “Tomorrow,” “Shonen Hearts” is the first Parakeet track to very nearly replicate the magic Doi conjured up on Yuck’s standout rocker “The Wall.” Imparting a hint of her Japanese heritage into the song’s ambiguously romantic theme (“shonen” loosely translates to “young boy”), Doi hammers out a flurry of dynamic guitar work that packs a significant wallop without lessening the strangely elegant, alluring qualities of Doi’s accented vocal harmonies. Mike LeChevallier

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mYjM9LhDPk


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Awards

Oscars 2019: Who Will Win? Who Should Win? Our Final Predictions

No one is okay with the Academy Awards the way they are, and everyone seems sure that they know how to fix them.

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Roma
Photo: Netflix

No one is okay with the Academy Awards the way they are, and everyone seems sure that they know how to fix them. Cut out the montages, bring back honorary award presentations, give stunt performers their own category, let ranked-choice voting determine every category and not just best picture, overhaul the membership ranks, hold the event before the guilds spoil the surprise, find a host with the magic demographic-spanning mojo necessary to double the show’s recent audience pools, nominate bigger hits, nominate only hits. Across the last 24 days, Ed Gonzalez and I have mulled over the academy’s existential crisis and how it’s polluted this year’s Oscar race so thoroughly that it feels eerily similar to the 2016 election cycle all over again. We’re spent, and while we don’t know if we have it in us to do this next year, we just might give it another go if Oscar proves us wrong on Sunday in more than just one category.

Below are our final Oscar predictions. Want more? Click on the individual articles for our justifications and more, including who we think should win in all 24 categories.

Picture: Green Book
Director: Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
Actor: Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
Actress: Glenn Close, The Wife
Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Supporting Actress: Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Original Screenplay: Green Book
Adapted Screenplay: BlacKkKlansman
Foreign Language: Roma
Documentary Feature: RBG
Animated Feature Film: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Documentary Short: Period. End of Sentence
Animated Short: Weekends
Live Action Short: Skin
Film Editing: Bohemian Rhapsody
Production Design: The Favourite
Cinematography: Cold War
Costume Design: The Favourite
Makeup and Hairstyling: Vice
Score: If Beale Street Could Talk
Song: “Shallow,” A Star Is Born
Sound Editing: First Man
Sound Mixing: Bohemian Rhapsody
Visual Effects: First Man

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Awards

Oscar 2019 Winner Predictions: Picture

The industry’s existential crisis has polluted this race so thoroughly that it feels eerily similar to the 2016 election cycle all over again.

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Green Book
Photo: Universal Pictures

“I’m hyperventilating a little. If I fall over pick me up because I’ve got something to say,” deadpanned Frances McDormand upon winning her best actress Oscar last year. From her lips to Hollywood’s ears. No one is okay with the Academy Awards the way they are, and everyone seems sure that they know how to fix them. Cut out the montages, bring back honorary award presentations, give stunt performers their own category, let ranked-choice voting determine every category and not just best picture, overhaul the membership ranks, hold the event before the guilds spoil the surprise, find a host with the magic demographic-spanning mojo necessary to double the show’s recent audience pools, nominate bigger hits, nominate only hits.

But first, as McDormand herself called for during her speech, “a moment of perspective.” A crop of articles have popped up over the last two weeks looking back at the brutal showdown between Saving Private Ryan and Shakespeare In Love at the 1999 Academy Awards, when Harvey Weinstein was at the height of his nefarious powers. Every retrospective piece accepts as common wisdom that it was probably the most obnoxious awards season in history, one that indeed set the stage for every grinding assault we’ve paid witness to ever since. But did anyone two decades ago have to endure dozens of weekly Oscar podcasters and hundreds of underpaid web writers musing, “What do the Academy Awards want to be moving forward, exactly? Who should voters represent in this fractured media environment, exactly?” How much whiskey we can safely use to wash down our Lexapro, exactly?

Amid the fox-in-a-henhouse milieu of ceaseless moral outrage serving as this awards season’s backdrop, and amid the self-obsessed entertainers now wrestling with the idea that they now have to be “content providers,” all anyone seems concerned about is what an Oscar means in the future, and whether next year’s versions of Black Panther and Bryan Singer’s Bohemian Rhapsody have a seat at the table. What everyone’s forgetting is what the Oscars have always been. In other words, the industry’s existential crisis has polluted this race so thoroughly that it feels eerily similar to the 2016 election cycle all over again, and Oscar’s clearly splintered voting blocs may become ground zero for a Make the Academy Great Again watershed.

In 1956, the Oscars took a turn toward small, quotidian, neo-realish movies, awarding Marty the top prize. The correction was swift and sure the following year, with a full slate of elephantine epics underlining the movie industry’s intimidation at the new threat of television. Moonlight’s shocking triumph two years ago was similarly answered by the safe, whimsical The Shape of Water, a choice that reaffirmed the academy’s commitment to politically innocuous liberalism in artistically conservative digs. Call us cynical, but we know which of the last couple go-arounds feels like the real academy. Which is why so many are banking on the formally dazzling humanism of Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma and so few on the vital, merciless fury of Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman.

And even if we give the benefit of the doubt to the academy’s new members, there’s that righteous, reactionary fervor in the air against those attempting to “cancel” Green Book. Those attacking the film from every conceivable angle have also ignored the one that matters to most people: the pleasure principle. Can anyone blame Hollywood for getting its back up on behalf of a laughably old-fashioned but seamlessly mounted road movie-cum-buddy pic that reassures people that the world they’re leaving is better than the one they found? That’s, as they say, the future that liberals and Oscar want.

Will Win: Green Book

Could Win: Roma or BlacKkKlansman

Should Win: BlacKkKlansman

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Awards

Oscar 2019 Winner Predictions: Adapted Screenplay

After walking back almost all of its bad decisions ahead of this year’s Oscars, there’s no way AMPAS isn’t going to do the right thing here.

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BlacKkKlansman
Photo: Focus Features

Eric and I have done a good job this year of only selectively stealing each other’s behind-the-scenes jokes. We have, though, not been polite about stepping on each other’s toes in other ways. Okay, maybe just Eric, who in his impeccable take on the original screenplay free-for-all detailed how the guilds this year have almost willfully gone out of their way to “not tip the Oscar race too clearly toward any one film.” Case in point: Can You Ever Forgive Me? winning the WGA’s adapted screenplay trophy over presumed Oscar frontrunner BlacKkKlansman. A glitch in the matrix? We think so. Eric and I are still in agreement that the race for best picture this year is pretty wide open, though maybe a little less so in the wake of what seemed like an easy win for the Spike Lee joint. Nevertheless, we all know that there’s no Oscar narrative more powerful than “it’s about goddamn time,” and it was so powerful this year that even the diversity-challenged BAFTAs got the memo, giving their adapted screenplay prize to Lee, Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, and Kevin Willmott. To bamboozle Lee at this point would, admittedly, be so very 2019, but given that it’s walked back almost all of its bad decisions ahead of this year’s Oscars, there’s no way AMPAS isn’t going to do the right thing.

Will Win: BlacKkKlansman

Could Win: Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Should Win: BlacKkKlansman

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